Digital Eye Strain Relief in Chatham-Kent

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A Digital Problem in Our Digital Age

From computers to smartphones and tablets to TVs, Canadians spend approximately 11 hours a day looking at digital screens. But, while these devices have made our lives more convenient, they also come with a new issue unique to our digital age: digital eye strain. 

Digital eye strain refers to a group of eye problems related to prolonged digital device use and comes with a series of uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms tend to arise when you use a digital device for longer than 2 hours in a row over several days (such as working at a computer 5 days a week).

The good news is that this condition does not lead to long-term eye damage, and there are many ways to reduce your discomfort when using digital devices. However, other eye conditions have many of the same symptoms of digital eye strain, so it’s always a good idea to see an optometrist to rule out the possibility of a more serious issue.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Some common symptoms of digital eye strain include: 

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Irritated eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Excessive tearing 
  • Dry eyes

Why Do Digital Devices Cause Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain is not directly caused by digital devices themselves but by the extra effort it takes to maintain a clear image on a digital screen. Driving, reading, writing, and other activities that require prolonged focus can also lead to eye strain, but digital device use is the most common cause. 

But why? Images and text on digital screens aren’t as clear as those on printed materials, so our visual system has to work harder to focus and maintain these images. We also tend to

  • Blink less while using computers, causing dry eyes and discomfort
  • Use devices at less than ideal angles, causing neck, back, and shoulder pain
  • Use devices with glare or reflection
  • Use devices with poor contrast and brightness

Uncorrected vision problems, like farsightedness and presbyopia, can also contribute to eye strain.

How to Reduce Eye Strain

Fortunately, eye strain can be managed by making some simple lifestyle changes at work and home. In fact, some of the discomfort you feel from using a computer is related to the strain placed on your body, so these lifestyle changes can be good for your eyes and overall health.

One of the easiest ways to reduce eye strain is to give your eyes frequent breaks. Remind yourself when to take a break by following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something at least 20 feet away. These breaks give your eyes a chance to relax and readjust.

You could even take these breaks a step further and take a break from sitting as well. Short exercise breaks are beneficial to your heart, lungs, and muscles.

Your workplace setup is also important for ensuring your ongoing comfort. Ensuring you’re following proper workplace ergonomics will also help prevent repetitive strain injuries.

Combining breaks and proper workstation setup, peppered with some desk stretches for added benefit, will help your body and eyes stay comfortable and happy:

  • Place your monitor at arm’s length to support your natural viewing distance.
  • Position your wrists straight and your hands at or below elbow level to reduce strain on your tendons.
  • Choose a comfortable chair with plenty of support, and adjust your chair height, so your knees are level with your hips.
  • Reduce glare by facing your screen away from bright lights and windows.
  • Set your screen’s colour contrast and brightness to match your environment.

Digital device use is on the rise among children, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for virtual schooling. Unfortunately, children aren’t immune to digital eye strain symptoms, and prolonged computer use has been linked to visual and musculoskeletal issues.

Fortunately, the same techniques for avoiding eye strain for adults can be used to prevent eye strain for children.

Come Visit Us

Our practice is located on the corner of Grand Avenue East and Woodland Avenue. We have a large parking lot off Woodland Avenue with accessible parking and entrance.

Our Address

  • 412 Grand Avenue East
  • Chatham, Ontario N7L 1X1

Contact Information

Hours of Operation

  • Monday: 8:30 AM 5:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 8:30 AM 5:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 8:30 AM 5:30 PM
  • Thursday: 8:30 AM 5:30 PM
  • Friday: 8:30 AM 5:30 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed
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